On 28th July we commemorate the 50th death anniversary of Charu Mazumdar,who was tortured to death in police custody. It ranks amongst the worst abuse of human rights of a political prisoner or leader in India or the world. Today history is repeating itself in with Custodial deaths being a routine occurrence in prisons.Charu’s assassination illustrated the neo-fascist nature of the Congress regime in West Bengal. The Civil Rights groups undertook extensive research on the fascist nature of the execution of not only Mazumdar but thousands of cadres of C.P.I. (M.L).In 1997 a judicial inquiry was initiated 25 years after the murder by son Abhijit and other comrades, but the petition was dismissed by the high court and Supreme Court.
Charu Mazumdar must be credited for igniting the spark of ‘Naxalbari ‘by giving it a political shape, through, his Eight documents. He planted the seeds of the Indian Communist Movement demarcation from revisionism by formulating path of New Democratic Revolution. Whatever serious errors or dogmatic thinking,Charu Mazumdar formulated a path of agrarian revolution based on teachings of the Chinese Revolution. He stitched the base for re-building an All-India Revolutionary Party by delivering a striking blow to revisionism and parliamentary dogmatism. Naxalbari and Charu Mazumdar are inseparable.
Bhagat Singh (1907–1931), the subject of Chris Moffat’s India’s Revolutionary Inheritance and Chaman Lal’s (edited and introduced) The Bhagat Singh Reader, is an iconic figure of the radical left tradition in India. In a trial by a special tribunal that chose to violate basic principles of law and criminal procedure for colonial-political ends, he was convicted of murdering an assistant superintendent of police in 1928. Singh, along with his comrades Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru, was executed in Lahore (now in Pakistan) on March 23, 1931, when he was just 23 years old, in the prime of his life.
Having come from the revolutionary strand of India’s struggle for independence, the elite nationalist leadership, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, remained ambivalent about Singh, and nationalist historiography has marginalized his political contributions. His substitution of the slogan “Vande Mataram!” (Salutations to Mother India!) with the rallying cries “Inquilab Zindabad!” (Long Live the Revolution!) and “Samrajyawad Ka Nash Ho!” (Death to Imperialism!) was alien to the political sense of India’s elite nationalist leaders. They were apprehensive of Singh’s brand of revolutionary politics appealing to the masses and displacing their own variety of a reformist nationalist mass movement. Indeed, “a confidential Intelligence Bureau account, Terrorism in India (1917–1936) went so far as to declare that ‘for a time, he [Bhagat Singh] bade fair to oust Mr. Gandhi as the foremost political figure of the day.’”1
[Aneek, an independent, radical Baanglaa monthly from Kolkata, India, in its 53rd years of publication, interviewed three leaders of the Naxalbari Uprising. The leaders with working class background were organizing armed struggle of the poor-landless peasantry in the Naxalbari region since the earliest days of the revolutionary initiative. Following is Dulal Chandra’s interview, the first of the three, conducted by Arijit and Subhasis from Aneek, and published in the monthly’s May 2017 (vol. 53, no. 11) issue. The interview was conducted on November 17 and 18, 2016 at Dulal Chandra’s Siliguri home, more than 450 km north of Kolkata. Dulal Chandra, a trade unionist, breathed his last in August, 2017. Aneek, the interviewers and the translator of the interview, Farooque Chowdhury, pay respect to the revolutionary.]
I, Dulal Chandra, was working with comrade Charu Majumdar, one of the leaders of the Naxalbari path, since 1964. I was not practicing revolutionary politics in that period as it was not there. At that time, I was working with a trade union associated with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM). Gradually, I turned out as a leader of the trade union in Siliguri, a few hundred kilometers north-east of Kolkata. I was a member of the district executive committee of Darjeeling District Beeree [also spelled bidi, handmade cigarette] Workers’ Union.Read More »
Sudeb, a young revolutionary walking along the path of proletarian revolution, was shot at and beaten to death by jotedar’s [owner of a large farm landholding or a de facto sub-proprietor, often with land leased out to sharecroppers] henchmen at Keshpur, Midnapur in June 1970, said press reports. Sudeb’s father wrote:
“Let no other father face the terrible task of having to recall the memories of a son after his death.…
“In his [Sudeb’s] opinion, the hour of revolution had already arrived, and to stand by at that moment was sheer stupidity.…
“Sudeb had another trait in his character – a stern and unalterable dedication to ideals….Read More »
This is the 49th year of the Naxalbari uprising. On 25 May in the year 1967, the police fired on a procession of peasant women, killing seven on the spot. Naxalbari is a mouja in the phansidewa thana area of the district of Darjeeling. A few days before the shooting down of the peasant women, a clash between the police and the agitating peasants, who had raised the slogan of ‘land to the tillars’, took place and a police inspector named Wangdi was killed. The movement started under the banner of the Siliguri subdivisional branch of the CPI(M)-led Kishan Sabha, then led, among others, by Kanu Sanyal, Jangal Santal and Khokan Majumdar. The uprising created quite a stir all over India, and the then Communist Party of China hailed it in an article entitled ‘Spring Thunder Over India’ in its ‘People’s Daily’. Read More »